General comments

In addition to the comments made on the consultation proforma, the SSTA would wish to add the following. It is disappointing to note the loaded nature of certain questions. Questions 1, 2, 8, 9 and 10 involve the adoption of certain assumptions in order to provide an answer. Question 4 and 7 are so loaded that they cannot be answered. The inclusion of such questions has raised doubts as to the validity of the entire consultation exercise. The SSTA notes with regret that certain questions are not asked. It is clear to all that the narrowing of the certificated middle secondary curriculum to one year has been the subject of constant criticism. We believe that the failure to include any question as to the extent of the certification available to young people in the middle years and the consequent effect on the S5/6 curriculum detracts from the value of the consultation exercise to the extent of making parts of the exercise meaningless. There is scant recognition within the consultation paper as to that hugely important (but often ignored) question "Why assess?" There is little by way of opportunity to comment on the amount of time spent on assessment and the value of assessments. The loaded nature of the question relating to the introduction of literacy and numeracy awards bear eloquent testimony to the fact that the proposal has very little support within the profession. The SSTA notes the lack of any documentation (within the consultation document or elsewhere) as to curriculum and timetabling models. It is difficult to envisage how certain of the proposals inherent in Curriculum for Excellence and examined in the National Qualification consultation can be put into practice. Such models are essential. There is a lack of questioning relating to the generality of support for a "new" S4 examination system. It would have been simple to ask the question "Do you support the concept of the middle school certificate course being completed in one year of study? This is a question which should have been asked. The SSTA is therefore disappointed in the nature of the questions and their limited scope but hopes nevertheless that enough can be gained from the consultation to allow us to maintain and hopefully improve our National Qualification system. Ann Ballinger, President Jim Docherty, Acting General Secretary